Joe Gilgun

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Joe Gilgun
Joe Gilgun by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Gilgun at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International promoting Preacher.
Born Joseph William Gilgun
(1984-03-09) 9 March 1984 (age 33)
Chorley, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Occupation Actor
Years active 1994–present

Joseph William "Joe" Gilgun (born 9 March 1984) is an English actor known for several roles, including that of Eli Dingle in ITV's Emmerdale, Woody in the film and TV spin-offs This Is England (2006-15), and Rudy Wade in E4's Misfits. He currently appears as a main character in the AMC television adaption of the popular Vertigo comic Preacher, the charismatic Irish vampire Cassidy.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gilgun was born in Chorley, Lancashire, to mother Judith and father Andrew. He has two younger sisters: Jennie and Rosie. He attended Rivington VA Primary School and Southlands High School. He also trained at the Laine Johnson Theatre School and the Oldham Theatre Workshop. He has both dyslexia and ADHD, which he describes as the "biggest pain of [his] life" and in interviews has openly discussed depression and anxiety.[2][3] He started drama workshops at the age of eight, following advice from an educational psychologist, and was described as having "exceptional talent". When he was 10, he got his first TV acting role in Coronation Street. He stayed until he was 13. Gilgun studied art at Runshaw College. He started a degree in fashion design, but found it too academic. He was a plasterer, until returning to acting full-time with Emmerdale.


TV and stage work[edit]

As a child actor, Gilgun played little tearaway Jamie Armstrong in Coronation Street between 1994 and 1997. He left the soap when the actress playing his on-screen mother left. Gilgun revisited the set in an ITV special The Kids from Coronation Street in 2004.

Gilgun took a break in his teens, acting part-time in local and national stage productions including the Manchester-based Hanky Park the Musical at the Lowry.[4][5] He played Charlie Millwall in a tour of the stage play Borstal Boy, which ended at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Critics liked the production.[6] He found the break difficult, telling The Guardian in December 2011 that "[I] went off the fucking rails" and became confused about what to do with his life. He ended up working as a plasterer.[7]

He returned to acting full-time in 2006, when he won the roles of both Woody in This Is England (see Film Work below) and trouble-prone Eli Dingle in Emmerdale. Gilgun announced he would quit Emmerdale on 10 November 2009, feeling the time was right to move on. His last appearance was on 30 April 2010. An Emmerdale representative said the programme had not ruled out a future return for the character.[8] Gilgun later indicated he currently had no such plans.[9]

Gilgun reprised the character of Woody for three Channel 4 TV spin-off series of This Is England, called This Is England '86.[10] and This is England '88 [11]and This is England '90, which aired in September 2010, December 2011 and 2015 respectively.

On 9 May 2011, it was announced that Gilgun had been cast as newcomer Rudy in the third series of Misfits. It began airing in late October 2011.[12] He replaced as lead the character of Nathan following the departure of Robert Sheehan. An online short called Vegas Baby covered Nathan's exit and Rudy's arrival. It was available on the E4 website from 15 September.[13] Gilgun said that replacing Sheehan had "been frightening... You'd think that it'd be a total ballache, what with being new and stuff and Rob doing such a good job".[7] The character Rudy can manifest a clone of himself that roughly represents his conscience. He first appeared in the first episode of the third series.

In 2013, Gilgun appeared as a Fagin-type character, Carmichael, in the BBC series Ripper Street, as well as starring in the fifth and final series of Misfits.[14]

Gilgun also appeared in a Dingle-centred episode of Ghosthunting with... hosted by Yvette Fielding in 2007 and in 1998, when he was 14 years old, he presented a feature on Wish You Were Here...? where he visited Phantasialand, Germany's largest theme park. [15] In March 2015 Gilgun earned the role of Cassidy, in the AMC series Preacher.[16]

He has developed a close relationship with his co-stars from the This Is England stories, referring to them in interviews as "the gang". Gilgun also has a tattoo of the name 'Lol' across his hand dedicated to the character closest to him in This Is England.[7]

Film career[edit]

Gilgun's debut as a film actor was as the kind-hearted skinhead Woody in This Is England, which he completed filming shortly before he started on Emmerdale. A semi-autobiographical feature film written and directed by Shane Meadows, it was released in the UK on 27 April 2007 and subsequently won several awards including a BAFTA for Best British Film in 2008.[17][18][19][20]

Joe Gilgun on the set of This Is England

Gilgun was granted time off from Emmerdale to shoot the British crime thriller Harry Brown, where he played drug dealer Kenny Soames.[21][22][23] Harry Brown was released on 11 November 2009.[24] In 2010, it was reported that he had been offered a role in the superhero film Kick-Ass starring Nicolas Cage, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with Emmerdale.

Gilgun plays Hydell in US sci-fi film Lockout, co-written and produced by Luc Besson and starring Guy Pearce. It was released on 13 April 2012.[25]

In 2007, Gilgun starred alongside welterweight boxing champion Michael Jennings in a locally produced feature-length documentary entitled Chorley: Where People Go to Fight. All proceeds went to Derian House Children's Hospice, with Joseph helping to present the cheque.[26]

In 2015, Gilgun played Ellic in Breck Eisner's The Last Witch Hunter alongside Michael Caine, Vin Diesel and Elijah Wood.

Music video work[edit]

In 2010, Joseph was asked to star in the music video for Dead American Writers, the debut single of Tired Pony from their first album, The Place We Ran From. Writer/director and longtime Shane Meadows collaborator Paul Fraser was asked to do a study of a great young actor for the video. Band founder Gary Lightbody said he wanted the video to "strip away any thoughts of who made the record and make it purely about performance. A great face and, hopefully, a great song." Joe also appears in the music video for Then Thickens - "Tiny Legs". Having been friends with a few members of the band from growing up around Chorley, Joe agreed to star in the video. It involved him having makeup, flour and eggs applied to his face amongst other things and took several, messy takes to get right. [27]


Gilgun in 2009


Year Title Role Notes
2006 This Is England Richard "Woody" Woodford
2009 Harry Brown Kenneth "Kenny" Soames
2010 Top of the Range Joe Short (10 minutes)
2011 Screwed Karl
2012 Lockout Hydell
2013 Tennis Jerry Short (23 minutes)
2014 Pride Mike Jackson
2015 The Last Witch Hunter Ellic
2016 The Infiltrator Dominic


Year Title Role Notes
1994–1997 Coronation Street Jamie Armstrong
1998 Wish You Were Here...? Guest Presenter
2004 Hollyoaks Marcus Guest
2005 Shameless Rico Season 2, episode 2
2005 Big Dippers Carl TV film
2006 Sorted Car Mechanic Season 1, episode 5
2006–2010 Emmerdale Eli Dingle
2010 This Is England '86 Richard "Woody" Woodford Drama mini-series
2011 This Is England '88 Richard "Woody" Woodford Drama mini-series
2011–2013 Misfits Rudy Wade Series 3 to Series 5
2013 Ripper Street Carmichael Season 1, episode 2
2013 Coming Up Martin Series 8, episode 1
2015 This Is England '90 Richard "Woody" Woodford Drama mini-series
2016 Preacher Cassidy Main character

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Result Award Category Film or series Character
2006 Nominated British Independent Film Awards Best Supporting Actor/Actress This is England Woody
2007 Nominated British Soap Awards Best Newcomer Emmerdale Eli Dingle
Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Newcomer
Nominated TV Quick and TV Choice Awards Best Soap Newcomer
2008 Nominated Digital Spy Awards Villain of the Year
2012 Won Virgin Media TV Awards Best Newbie Misfits Rudy Wade
Won SFX Awards Breakout Star
Nominated BAFTA Television Award Best Actor This Is England '88 Woody


  1. ^ "Cooper Pretty Much Set For "Preacher"". Dark Horizons. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Sarah Waterfall (30 November 2004). "Life as a Corrie kid | Manchester Evening News -". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  3. ^ "Newsquest - Home". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  4. ^ "Details". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  5. ^ "Harry Brown". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Considine, Clare (10 December 2011). "Emmerdale misfit Joe Gilgun is most at home with the This Is England gang". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Eli Dingle quits 'Emmerdale' - Emmerdale News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ "Shane on This Is England spin-off". Virgin Media. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  11. ^ "Shane Meadows returns with Christmas special: This Is England '88 - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  12. ^ "Misfits casts Joe Gilgun as new recruit Rudy - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  13. ^ "Misfits - Series 3 news - plus an online short - Misfits blog". 11 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  14. ^ "'Preacher' Series Gets Its Cassidy". BD. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-24. 
  15. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | WISH YOU WERE HERE...?[04/05/98] (1998)". 16 April 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  16. ^ "Preacher Casts Cassidy – Joseph Gilgun". DC. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-24. 
  17. ^ "This Is England News, Reviews, Summary, Cast and Crew, Videos". 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  18. ^ "My Film Vault". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  19. ^ Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Ifc Pictures. "Down and out? Pick on someone lower |". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  21. ^ "Harry Brown (2009)". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  22. ^ "'Emmerdale's Gilgun lands Caine movie - Emmerdale News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  23. ^ paul woods. "laine management". laine management. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  24. ^ "More TIFF titles for Galas and Special Presentations sections". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  25. ^ "Lockout (2012)". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  26. ^ "Big names star in labour of love movie (From Chorley Citizen)". 10 October 2007. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  27. ^ "Celebrity News, Gossip and Photo Galleries - HuffPost Celebrity UK". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 

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